Letters Study #9
Philippians: The Healing of Humility
One of the more discouraging realities of human experience is to start something well – something important in your life – only to watch it “go south.” Who isn’t optimistic when launching a new business, starting a major course of study at a school, or on one’s wedding day, or populating your home life with children? We love thinking what we start will be successful. We expect what we start to thrive. Yet data reveals, for example, that 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.
There is a similar challenge for churches, and even individual Christians. One-third of all new churches fail within 4 years. The Pew Research group, watching trends, predicts that over 100 million will leave Christian faith within the next 30 years, with less than ½ that many becoming Christians. Sobering. Yet as we heard in teaching from Paul’s letter to the Philippian believers
Get STARTED—Discuss the following questions from your experience:
- Why do some believers who start well not finish well? What are the causes?
- What are the things which frequently divide and disunify a church family of believers?
- If you were a pastor, shepherding a church, what would you do to help keep unified and eager?
Explore the WORD—Exploring Philippians
In your Connect Group experience this week, as a group, read out loud the entire book of Philippians TWICE. Read around the circle, each group member taking a paragraph. But with each reading, look for something different.
1st READING—WHAT DIVIDES ☹️ as you read, note that which could divide the church. Jot them down on a piece of paper.
2nd READING—WHAT UNIFIES! 😊 As you read, note the things which should unify the church. Again, jot them.
Finally, share what observations you made. What did you discover? What did others see?
Prioritizing APPLICATION—When you think about your lists, and your presence and influence at Christ Community Church, are you bringing anything which divides? Or, are you bringing that which can unify and strengthen?
Finally, pray together about what the Holy Spirit has taught you from Philippians, and pray for Christ Community Church!